These days, we have been spending more time eating and cooking at home. When we are not doing that, there are many of us who enjoy watching others cook on television.
Have you ever watched your favorite food competition show, a movie, read an engaging book or relaxed in front of the TV and found yourself transfixed by the impossibly delicious food in the story? Maybe you thought, “I would love to make that dish.”
Restaurant concepts based on television shows and movies have opened (and closed). Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. was inspired by the movie “Forrest Gump.” McLaren’s, the bar on the television show “How I met Your Mother,” was inspired by NYC’s McGee’s Pub. You’ll feel “Alice In Wonderland” all around you at Alice’s Tea Cup in NYC. Pop-up restaurant Saved by the Max replicates the after-school hangout from “Saved By the Bell,” where Ed Alozo, a magician, was the proprietor.
Jimmy Wong and Ashley Adams founded the YouTube channel “The Feast of Fiction,” which now has about a quarter-million subscribers and 180 million views worldwide. Their popularity led to thousands of “hungry” followers’ requests for a cookbook. This, coupled with their love of food and nostalgic memories, was the inspiration for the book, “The Feast of Fiction Kitchen: Recipes Inspired by TV, Movies, Games & Books” (2020,Countryman Press, $24.95).
From fantasizing about the taste of Butterbeer from “Harry Potter” to the Krabby Patties in “SpongeBob SquarePants” to Kevin’s Pizza Mac and Cheese from “Home Alone,” our favorite films, games, books and TV shows are filled with food that sticks in our imagination and makes us crave just one bite. You’ll also find recipes for Screech’s Secret Spaghetti Sauce from “Saved by the Bell” (with spice and intense tomato flavor — and a secret ingredient); Hazelnut Soup from Disney’s “Tangled,” a rich butternut squash, parsnip and hazelnut packed brew; Sansa’s Lemon Cakes from “Game of Thrones”; and Pumpkin Pasties from “Harry Potter.”
Here are a few recipes from the book to help you start to turn your kitchen into a fun, imaginative place where you can live your childhood fantasies, create nostalgic fictional favorites and sit down to a satisfying meal. For the recipe for Shrimp Scampi and Spinach Pasta with Glazed Carrots, inspired by “Mrs. Doubtfire,” visit https://bit.ly/2QdODoK.
The headnote says, “Butterbeer might be one of the most well-known aspects of the Harry Potter universe. It made our mouths water the first time we read about it in the books, and seeing Harry and his friends enjoy it at the Hogsmeade Tavern in the movies was more than enough for us to know we just had to make this recipe come to life. Delicious, sweet, and the perfect amount of refreshing, this recipe is our ode to one of the greatest fantasy series of all time. Next fantasy? Getting that invite by owl to attend Hogwarts. We can dream, right?”
To make the Butterscotch Sauce: Melt the salted butter in a medium saucepan on low-medium heat. Add the brown sugar, heavy cream and salt and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined. Cook for 7 to 9 minutes or until the mixture reaches 225 degrees on a candy thermometer, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Once cooled, transfer to an airtight container.
To make the Beer: In a small, heatproof bowl, melt the unsalted butter in the microwave. Add 1/2 cup of the butterscotch sauce and mix well.
Pour the cream soda into a frozen mug, add the butter-butterscotch sauce mixture, and whisk together.
Top with the whipped cream and drizzle with extra butterscotch sauce.
Cheat Code: A variation can be made to this drink by heating the cream soda in the microwave for 30 seconds, and then adding the warm butter-butterscotch sauce mixture to it. Serves 1 or 2 Hogwarts students.
The headnote says, “True fans of ‘Home Alone’ know that the real reason Kevin McCallister gets left behind is actually because of pizza. Only thing is, if he’d just gotten his cheese slice like he wanted, the world would have been deprived of this amazing movie. In honor of Kevin’s insatiable appetite, we’ve crafted up a dish that combines all of Kevin’s favorite foods we see him eat in ‘Home Alone’ and ‘Home Alone 2.’”
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a large casserole dish.
Bring water to a boil in a large pot and cook the macaroni according to package instructions. Add the olive oil to the water to keep the pasta from sticking. Drain the water and set the pasta aside.
Return the empty pot to medium heat, add the cream and bring to a soft boil. Add the cheese and spice powders. Stir continuously until the cheese has fully melted and the ingredients are combined to form a smooth cheese sauce. Add the pasta and stir until pasta is coated in cheese. Pour the mac and cheese into the prepared casserole dish.
Smooth a thin layer of the pizza sauce over the top of the macaroni. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning over the sauce, followed by half of the mozzarella. Top with a single layer of pepperoni slices, and then sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella on top.
Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Set oven to broil and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Let cool before serving. Serves 4 to 6 sticky bandits.
The headnote for theis “Game of Thrones”-inspired dish says, “Dealing with the White Walkers, wildling raids, and constant threat of kin-slaying can definitely leave even the most seasoned winter warrior hankering for a sweet treat. Lemon cakes are Sansa’s favorite, and we can see why. Like our Queen in the North, these mini lemon souffle cakes are delicate on the outside, but hide a memorable tart flavor on the inside. This recipe produces fairly bite-sized portions, perfect for a mid-afternoon tea or even a meeting with the matriarch of the Tyrells to plan the poisoning of your royal husband. Or, you know, whatever you like to do!”
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 6-cup muffin tin. Cut six circles out of parchment paper (the size of the bottom of each cup) and place in the middle of each buttered cup.
In a medium bowl, sift together the sugar, flour and salt and set aside.
Beat the 2 egg whites with a mixer until you achieve soft peaks. Set aside.
Whisk together the buttermilk, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract and egg yolks in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture and then fold in the egg whites until no white remains.
Divide the batter among the muffin wells. Prepare a water bath by placing the muffin tin in an oblong cake pan and fill it with boiling water to right underneath the top of the muffin tin. Cover the entire tin with aluminum foil.
Bake for 25 minutes and uncover. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown. Remove from the water bath and let cool for at least 15 minutes before unmolding.
Use a knife to loosen each cake from the muffin tin. Flip over onto a plate or serving dish. Dust confectioners’ sugar with a sifter or a fine metal strainer.
Using a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler, start at the top of each lemon and cutting the yellow rind only, do not include the white part of the peel, pare around each lemon in a 1/2-inch-wide continuous strip, making the cuts jagged and wavy as your knife is cutting. Repeat with other lemons. Coil the lemon peel strips in a circle, skin side out, as tightly as possible without breaking the strip to create lemon roses. Cut the lemon roses in the middle of the lemon rind to create six mini roses. Garnish each cake with a rose. Serves 6.
Consiglio’s Demonstration Cooking Class: Aug. 27, 6:30 p.m., Consiglio’s Restaurant, 165 Wooster St., New Haven, 203-865-4489 (reservations required), $75 (beverages, tax and gratuity not included). Menu: Oysters Rockefeller, Pappardelle Wild Mushrooms Truffle Cream Sauce, Grilled Flatiron Steak Barolo Reduction, Fried Raspberry Pastry Ravioli. Classes will be held in the dining room practicing social distancing protocols with each party 6 feet away from the next. https://bit.ly/2YiCao6
3rd annual Heirloom Tomato Festival, Aug. 29-30 from 11-6 p.m. White Silo Farm & Winery, 32 Route 37 East, Sherman, 860-355-0271; $25 per person for a 2-hour reservation and includes four items made with fresh tomatoes: pasta with sausages and sauce, roasted tomato focaccia, gazpacho with grilled shrimp, tomato and chickpea salad. A vegetarian option is available when making reservations. Due to current safety / social distancing guidelines the event will be outdoors. Reservations are required. A tent will be set up in case of rain. Reservations are limited and can be made on https://whitesilowinery.com. Music with The Bellas on Sat. 2-5:30 p.m. and Potters Field on Sunday 2-5:30 p.m.
“Summer Saturdays” noon-4 p.m., New Haven; participating New Haven restaurants will offer two-course prix-fixe lunch menus for $20 (excluding beverage, tax, and gratuity). Reservations are required. Other eateries and cafes, including coffee shops and bakeries, offer 20 percent off an item. Local musicians will perform live at select spots throughout the city. Special parking rates are available. Participating restaurants and other retail shops at infonewhaven.com/new-haven-summer-saturdays.
BASTA Trattoria, 1006 Chapel St., New Haven, 203-772-1715, Pasta Trio, menu at bit.ly/2WPnmwy, choose three different pastas and three different sauces for $20 per person. Served for lunch (noon- 3 p.m.) Saturdays and Sundays for dining indoor or outdoor. bastatrattoria.com
Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill, 271 Crown St. New Haven, 203-777-7700, happy hour from noon to 4 p.m., with $1 sliders, $1 drafts and $2 cans and bottles. These specials are available for dine-in only (indoor or outdoor). bit.ly/2ZW5cek
Shell and Bones, 100 S. Water St., New Haven, 203-787-3466, re-introduces happy hour, Monday through Thursday from noon to 4 p.m, offering $1 oysters, half-price bottles of wine and $1 drafts. Specials available for dine-in only (indoor or outdoor). shellandbones.com
Worth Tasting, culinary walking tour of downtown New Haven, Sept. 12, 10:30 a.m., reservations required, 203-415-3519, $68. Enjoy tasty samplings from several of New Haven’s favorites.Tickets at bit.ly/2FjiwMP.
What chef would you like me to interview? Which restaurant recipes or other recipes would you like to have? Which food products do you have difficulty finding? Do you have cooking questions? Send them to me: Stephen Fries, professor and coordinator of the Hospitality Management Programs at Gateway Community College, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dept. FC, Gateway Community College, 20 Church St., New Haven 06510. Include your full name, address and phone number. Due to volume, I might not be able to publish every request. For more, go to stephenfries.com.